CAROLINA PANTHERS at HOUSTON TEXANS
“Thursday Night Football” kicks off Week 3 with two teams playing surprisingly well to start the year. The Panthers (2-0 SU and ATS) visit the Texans (1-1 SU, 2-0 ATS) with the road team laying 7.5, up from the opening number of 4.5. The Panthers are coming off one of the more impressive performances of last week. They dominated the Saints, outgaining them 383-128 and holding them to 80 yards passing, even with the Saints in catch-up mode from the start. Christian McCaffrey briefly exited the game with an apparent calf injury, but he returned and finished the game. The Texans were not as fortunate with injury luck. Tyrod Taylor was 10-for-11 passing and had the Texans leading 14-7 as two-touchdown underdogs before leaving with a hamstring injury. Taylor is questionable, leaving rookie Davis Mills poised to perhaps make his first start. The total has come down from 44 to 42.5 with the Texans’ uncertainty at quarterback.
ARIZONA CARDINALS at JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
The Cardinals (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) come off a wild victory over the Vikings and look for a 3-0 start as they visit the Jaguars (0-2 SU and ATS). The Cards have been pegged as 7.5-point favorites, up from 2.5 on the lookahead line. Despite piling up nearly 500 yards of offense, they needed a 37-yard Vikings field goal to sail wide to secure the victory last week. They gained 8 yards per play on offense but allowed 7 per play on defense. The Jaguars took an early 7-0 lead on the Broncos but didn’t score again until late in the game on a kickoff return, losing 23-13 and failing to crack 200 yards of offense. Trevor Lawrence tossed three interceptions in his debut, then threw for only 118 yards in his second start, leading the Jaguars to an ugly 3.8 yards per play last week. The total is 52.